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Science, Common Sense and Ways of Knowing S. Kathleen Kitao Kenji Kitao Keywords: ways of knowing; the methods of tenacity, experience, authority, reason, science; selection; control; avoiding the metaphysical
will discuss • different types of knowledge, based on how we know what we believe we know • how scientific knowledge is different from and similar to what most people think of as common sense • how scientists approach research
Ways of Knowing • the method of tenacity • the method of experience • the method of authority • the method of reason • the method of science
The Method of Tenacity • we tend to hold firmly to something we believe to be true, just because we have always believed it • some religious beliefs • superstition • experience can lead to beliefs held through the method of tenacity
The Method of Experience • what we learn though experience • relationships among people • how the world works • difficult to know if your experiences are typical
The Method of Authority • we believe something because someone in authority tells us it is true • includes a great deal of what we know • printed materials carry particular authority • However, we need to keep in mind that just because something is in print, this does not necessarily make it true. • Using the method of authority is necessary in many areas, because we cannot always test every fact personally or check original sources.
The Method of Reason • based on what seems “reasonable” or on “common sense” • The problem is that if two different positions seem reasonable, it is difficult to decide between them.
Example • Joe‘s position • The more money spent on education, the better education will be, so the way to improve education is to spend more money. • Sandra‘s position • some ways of spending money will not improved education, such as higher salaries of administrators • there are ways of improving education without spending money, such as by involving parents in education • We cannot choose between their positions by reason alone.
The Method of Science • a way of looking objectively at knowledge, so that anyone who looks at it will see it in the same way • The basic, underlying belief of this method of knowing is that we need to test what we believe we know. • Research -- scientists make studies to test what they think they know • One advantage -- self-correcting • One researcher publishes result of research • Other researchers read it and do studies to support or contradict it
Relationship between method of science and method of reason • Science may be based in reason, but it also depends on testing conclusions • Library research • find out what other researchers have studied and learned • what theorists believe • “secondary research,” used to help the research decide what he/she wants to study
Two types of research • experimental research • the researcher makes some change and studies the effects of the change • non-experimental research • researcher studies a situation as it is, either at one point in time or over time
Differences Between Common Sense and Science • Selecting • researchers are careful how they choose the people they study • Population and sample • A population is all of the people that the researcher is interested in, that is, all the people to whom the researcher wants to generalize the study. • A sample is the people that the researcher actually studies.
Control • Control involves a situation where other possible causes can be eliminated. • Avoiding the Metaphysical • Scientists avoid explanations that cannot be tested.